Bachmann says Stillwater lift bridge’s shutdown fate shows need for new bridge

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been a leading voice in calling for a new bridge over the St. Croix River south of Stillwater, and she now draws on the looming state budget crisis as another reason to build the new freeway-style bridge.

Her statement today:

“The prospect of the Stillwater Lift Bridge being locked in the ‘up’ position during a state government shutdown serves as another compelling reason for a new St. Croix River crossing. The bridge closure will result in more than 16,000 rerouted daily drivers experiencing increased travel times that will raise the cost of their daily commute.

“The 80-year-old lift bridge has been in need of replacement for decades, and we are now closer than ever to a new crossing. This spring I introduced a bipartisan bill in the House, and Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) introduced a similar bill with bipartisan support in the Senate, that would allow the river crossing project to move forward. I urge my colleagues to give these bills immediate attention. Once a new bridge exists, the Minnesota and Wisconsin residents who frequently cross the river will not have to worry about the impact that operational delays of the lift bridge will have on their daily commute.”

Of course, if the budget deal is made and there’s no shutdown and the lift bridge operates normally, she’s still in favor of the new bridge.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/24/2011 - 06:34 pm.

    There’s really nothing to worry about. Some of those 16,000 coummuters must be state employees and won’t be commuting.

  2. Submitted by William Pappas on 06/24/2011 - 06:52 pm.

    Michelle is right on one account. We need a new bridge. Not many people are arguing that point. But her last statement that,”once a bridge is built (her 700 million dollar version) residents of Wisconsin and Minnesota who frequently cross the bridge won’t have to worry about the impact of operational delays on their daily commute” is telling. Is it for this reason, so residents of the Sommerset and New Richmond areas are not inconvenienced on their daily commute, that we are spending 3/4 of a billion dollars? Let me get this straight, we fought over just under a billion dollars to revolutionize commuting with the first light rail line in the Twin Cities, political wars were waged over the billion dollar transportation bonding bill that cost the overide six legislators their jobs and yet Representative Bachmann wants to spend roughly the same amount for the commuters of New Richmond and Sommerset to avoid inconvenience? We have entered a new era in transportation priorities. While 700 million would litterally rebuild ten large bridges in worse disrepair than the Stillwater Bridge,just 200 million could provide a smaller ST. Croix crossing that achieves every single objective that the Bachmann bridge to nowhere accomplishes with 3/4 of a billion. Is Bachmann in touch with reality? I thought she was a budget hawk. There is no better example of a government bureacracy run amok than the gold plated St. Croix mega bridge pushed by the MNDOT of twnety years ago. Were this bridge to be approached by designers today the project would be a third the size and the entire HW 36 upgrade to freeway status through the Stillwater business district would be eliminated. Traffic engineering has come a long way in twenty years and providing more multilane highways for long distance commuting is no longer financially viable. Revenue does not exist for such expensive infrastructure expansion both at the state level and locally. Stillwater can no longer provide infrastructure for sprawl type expansion without raising property taxes to pay for it. Rebuilding HW 36 without stops in Stillwater is BAD for local business. Promoting sprawl in Wisconsin will mean LESS business for Stillwater businesses. Taking all the traffic away from downtown is not in the best interests of downtown merchants. But we are loosing the larger point. All of this is done so Wisconsin residents are not inconvenienced and historic Stillwater is removed from a major roadway? Is that a 700 million dollar problem the people of Minnesota should pay for in tax dollars? When a 200 million dollar bridge satisfies both of those objectives is it wise to spend another 500 million to create needless freeways over and thru Stillwater? Let’s be sensible. There is still time to protest this absurdity and insult to Minnesota and Stillwater. Contact your representatives, including Klobuchar Franken and Dayton to express your outrage at such irresponsible spending. Let Mayor Haryski know he does not speak for the residents of Stillwater and Minnesota.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/25/2011 - 11:00 am.

    Just another case of a ‘conservative’ wanting to cut all programs except the ones that they personally benefit from.

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